Resort shut down in advance of IOC visit to Sochi

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia -- The Russian ski resort bidding to
host the 2014 Winter Olympics was shut down for two days this week,
ahead of a visit by an IOC evaluation commission.

The dispute involves claims of heavy-handed official tactics to
seize control of the business.

The private company that operates ski lifts at the Krasnaya
Polyana ski complex suspended its activities from Monday to
Wednesday after a series of safety checks it claims were aimed at
gaining control of the site.

Sochi is competing against Salzburg, Austria, and Pyeongchang,
South Korea, for the 2014 Games. The International Olympic
Committee evaluation commission will visit the site Feb. 20-23.

Krasnaya Polyana, in the mountains east of Sochi, would be a ski
venue at the 2014 Games.

Pyotr Fedin, head of the Alpika-Servis company, called the
actions of local authorities "a pure corporate raid."

He told The Associated Press the regional administration
indicated that Alpika-Servis should "hand over 50 percent to it,
but now apparently they want complete control. All this will affect
Sochi's international image as the IOC inspectors come here."

The shutdown came after fire, sanitary and other inspectors
arrived Jan. 3 and found multiple violations. Regional authorities
said the inspections were linked to preparations for the IOC's
evaluation commission visit.

"The checks uncovered a number of violations at facilities of
Alpika-Servis," said Natalia Mamon, an aide to Krasnodar's deputy
governor. "We asked them to sort these problems out, not stage

The IOC will select the host city on July 4.